The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks

51dw9wblpmlThe Lifeboat Clique is a young adult novel written by Kathy Parks. This book had been on my radar, so I was pleased to find it on the shelf at the library.

Denver is a relatively unpopular girl at her Southern California high school. She goes to a party thrown by the popular kids because her crush Croix invites her. Before Denver can have a cliché movie moment and kiss her crush, an earthquake strikes and then a tsunami destroys the beach house house where the party is taking place. Denver manages to scramble onto a small boat, along with a few other kids- one of whom is her ex-best friend Abigail.

The group is swept out to sea, and they have limited resources. They have no way of knowing when they will be rescued- or if there is even anything for them to go back to.  And it doesn’t seem to matter that they are in the very definition of a precarious situation; they might die of dehydration, but the popular kids are still sniping at Denver!

I’ve seen The Lifeboat Clique described as Life of Pi meets Mean Girls, and that’s pretty accurate. This book alternates between satirical and serious. Denver is a hilariously sarcastic narrator, but she is also resourceful. Apparently, not having friends leads to plenty of time for watching television, and Denver’s resourcefulness prolongs everybody’s life. The most poignant section of the book concerns Denver’s interactions with Abigail. Parks inserts a series of flashbacks throughout the narrative, and the reader experiences their friendship chronologically; it isn’t until nearly the end of the book that we find out what happened to end their friendship.

I would recommend The Lifeboat Clique. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down. This is a survival story, and the natural disaster serves as a catalyst for bringing Denver and Abigail back together. There is so much animosity between the two girls; can a tsunami that killed many of their classmates be enough to repair the rift in their friendship? It is unclear whether the natural disaster is more brutal than high school, and that’s what makes this book so riveting.

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